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rodger rabbit (Skyypilot)
Senior Member
Username: Skyypilot

Post Number: 1724
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 05:56 am:Edit Post Quote Text Delete Post Print Post Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Casing Contest TEK}


1)This TEK isnít intended to give all the information one needs to know about casings. It is assumed the reader has general knowledge of mushroom growing and casing. Beginning growers will still need to dig in the archives and/or read The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul Stamets.

2)Contamination is a fact of mycological life. To give hope to those still trying to figure out how to cope with it, this project was started with a contaminated syringe. The first time the syringe was used on grain, this is what grew.
A petri dish was then inoculated with that same syringe, and the healthy mycelia transferred away from the contamination to new petri dishes. This is the actual beginning of this project.
3)After the mycelia had been grown out, isolated and transferred to grain, grain to grain transfers were made using already pinning jars of popcorn that were previously detailed in this thread. This technique results in very fast pinning times, reducing the wait for first flush.

4)Once you have your grain grown out, and your compost prepared, youíre ready to go. You can see from the picture below weíll be using one quart of colonized, invitro fruiting popcorn to spawn two quarts of pasteurized compost.
Of course, you could just as easily use rye, millet, crumbled cakes, etc.

5)The compost is a compound mixture of store bought compost , composted cow manure, a small amount of chicken manure (less than 5%) coir, coffee grinds and vermiculite. Hydrated lime was added at a rate of 5%.

6)The compost was pasteurized by first getting it wet to field consistency, then loading into jars and heating in the PC. For pasteurization in the PC, donít use the weight on the lid. Allow the PC to build up steam to about five pounds of pressure without the weight on it to overcome the thermal inertia of the cool jars.
Next, reduce heat just enough to keep a bit of steam escaping (The pressure gauge will return to zero), and allow the compost to steam like that in the jars for 30 minutes. Shut off the heat and allow the jars to cool inside the PC. This is the easiest, cleanest way Iíve found to pasteurize compost, and if you use filter disks, tyvek or polyfill in the lids, the pasteurized compost can be used for up to a week or two without re-pasteurization.

Ok, letís build a casing! Sprinkle about an inch or so of compost into the bottom of your container. Use any size or type of pan you wish. Itís best to use something which light canít penetrate to avoid fruiting on the bottom. Next, add a bit of spawn. In this example weíre using popcorn.
Add another layer of compost, followed by more spawn. You can gently shake the pan around to mix the kernals and compost. Continue the process until your pan is filled to within 1Ē of the top. Youíll notice some of the larger invitro mushrooms that were in the grain jar have been removed. Donít worry about the smaller ones and pins. Let them stay because theyíll speed up pinning in your casing. Upload
After youíve filled your pan to within 1Ē of the top with grain spawn and compost, cover with foil to help hold in the moisture and CO2. Poke a few little holes in the foil on top to allow a small amount of air exchange. It is important to allow CO2 to build up in your casing as it colonizes, so donít make the holes too big. Four or five holes the size a nail will make is fine. These holes also let a bit of light in, so when the mycelium reaches the surface of the compost, it knows itís going to be time to pin soon.
After a week to ten days, your compost will be about 90% colonized. Now is the time to uncover the compost and add the casing layer.
Casing material can be pasteurized and stored exactly as described above for compost. What you see here is 50/50 coir/verm. Lime was added to the coir before it was mixed with the verm at a rate of 5%. (1 cup of lime for each 20 cups of coir) There is no need to lime the verm, so in a 50/50 casing like this, the total hydrated lime would be 2 1/2%. Wet the casing material until when you pick up a handful it doesnít drip, but when you squeeze it, water drains out. Load into jars and pasteurize as described above. Spread the casing on top of the colonized compost about 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Try to get a smooth, even layer of casing, but be careful not to pack it down. You want the casing material to be loose and fluffy.
At this point, itís time to place your new casing in fruiting conditions, and let it rip! I donít believe in covering it up like we did with the compost, and waiting for the casing to colonize. That seems to invite overlay. The casing will colonize enough in the few days it will take to begin pinning. This will be enough to allow the mycelia to transfer moisture from the casing layer down into the colonized compost. Mist a few times a day if possible, to keep the casing nice and moist. It must never be allowed to dry out. If you have to leave for work and donít want it to get dry, try placing a piece of wax paper over the casing. Donít fold it tight or seal the edges, but rather just lay it on the top. It will hold in moisture, while still allowing plenty of air exchange to help initiate pinning. If you use wax paper as described above, be sure to change it out every day with a fresh piece.


Sometimes we get a massive flush of smaller mushrooms, and other times we get a smaller flush of massive mushrooms. The latter is what worked out with the casing chosen to illustrate this tek. These babies were large, very dense, and over 100 grams each. Since this was my first flush with these PRís, prints were required, so the fruits were allowed to grow a day longer than if they were for consumption. The smaller fruits over on the left (I call them strays) were picked at the same time.

The dunk

After picking your fruits, carefully turn the pan upside down and allow the casing to fall out into your hand. Of course donít forget to wash your hands very well with antibacterial soap before starting. Hold your casing under the faucet and carefully wash all the loose casing material off and down the drain.
After washing, place the casing into whatever container youíre going to dunk in. It must be large enough for the entire block to be submerged. No part of the casing should be above the water level. I use a Rubbermaid type container, and in this case 4 shot glasses will be placed on top of the casing so that when the lid is placed on, the casing will be pushed below the surface of the water. Note that after flushing, the casing is dry and buoyant enough to support the weight of 4 shot glasses without sinking.
Place the lid on your container and put in the refrigerator, or any other cool place for 24-48 hours. The reason for keeping the casing cold while dunking is to keep bacteria from growing during the process while the mycelium is dormant.


After dunking, allow the casing to drain for five to ten minutes. This will leave it still soaking wet. This is ok. Rinse it again under the sink to remove any slime or bacteria left from the dunking process. Place it back into the pan and re-case. I see no point in using casing material or verm on the bottom. Any excess water from dunking will be soaked back up soon to replace water that will evaporate or be used by the mycelium.
Place the casing back in your fruiting area and mist lightly a time or two per day. Donít mist heavily, because the underlying compost/mycelia is already wet from dunking. All you want to do is keep the top layer of casing material from drying out. Sit back and wait for the next flush!

"I feel rowdy and I don't know why. . .Excuse me while I kiss the sky". . .jimi hendrix

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